Jim Dunbar, American radio program director, Died at 89

Jim Dunbar was born on October 9, 1929, in Dearborn, Michigan, and died on April 23, 2019; he was an American radio program director, talk show host and news anchor who helped boost the ratings of KGO (AM) into the top five with its unique news/talk format.

KGO consistently scored in the top five after 1963 and was #1 for some time after 1978, reaching to about 2009.

Jim was a graduate of the Fordson High School class of 1947 in Dearborn, Michigan, and later worked as a rock DJ at WXYZ Detroit, Michigan, WDSU New Orleans, Louisiana, and WLS (AM) Chicago before coming west to KGO in 1963.


He worked at ABC owned-and-operated KGO (both radio and television) for the next 37 years, retiring in 2000.

Jim was, elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1999, and to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (Class 2006) in 2006 as a member of the first class to be, inducted.

In addition to his radio work, Jim also hosted the popular AM San Francisco morning talk program on KGO-TV (Channel 7) for many years beginning in 1965.

In 1969, a man called San Francisco police, identifying himself as the serial killer known as The Zodiac, and agreed to call Jim Dunbar during AM San Francisco’s live broadcast if either attorney Melvin Belli or attorney F. Lee Bailey were present on air.

The police contacted Belli and Dunbar to arrange this in the hopes of capturing the individual.

As promised, the suspect called, spoke a few words, and then hung up, repeating this activity 54 times over the next two hours.

Belli received a letter from the Zodiac that same year. Jim Dunbar passed away at the age of 89.